A Sense of Foreboding in 'The Monkey's Paw' Essay

A Sense of Foreboding in 'The Monkey's Paw' Essay

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How Does W.W. Jacobs Create a Sense of Foreboding in ‘The Monkey’s Paw’?

From the outset, it is clear that ‘The Monkey’s Paw’ by W.W. Jacobs is driven by an increasing sense of foreboding. Firstly, the setting of the story takes place in a very isolated and lonely place, far away from civilisation in a deserted area. This makes it a bit scary and starts to introduce tension for the reader in the story. Right from the start of the story W.W., Jacobs creates a very foreboding scene. He starts the story with pathetic fallacy, ‘the night was cold and wet’. Immediately this makes the reader feel more tension. This line also creates a feeling of inhospitality, and makes you feel that that the place is not inviting. This creates a scene outside that is evidently ominous, and sets the mood for the whole story. The next line is correlated with the first, and backs up the idea of the atrocious weather. It says ‘In the small parlour of Laburnum Villa the blinds were drawn’. This is trying to say that the family is protecting themselves from the weather, in a sense they are cocooning themselves from the weather. Also Jacobs Sets the scene by saying ‘Father and son were at chess’. This seems a bit too good to be true, for example the inside is all calm, with the father playing chess with his son and the Mother knitting; ‘the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire’. This shows that the family is venerable. This also creates a big contrast because it’s warm and pleasant inside and very hostile and antagonistic outside. At the end of the first paragraph of the story somewhat sets the expectations of the story by saying ‘unnecessary perils’, which you can predict, that there is going to be danger in the story. At the start of the...


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The manner of speech in the story also creates a lot of tension for the reader. For example there are parts in the story where there are quick, short dialogues between the characters. This helps to create a lot of tension as not only is the scene tense but also the quick
dialogues helps to build up tension of that particular scene. These short quick dialogues help the text to keep flowing making the scene more chaotic and tense. Also during such conversations Jacob has intelligently used simple English, so the reader can digest the text and keep up with the fast pace of the conversation.

The best example of such a scene is the conversation between Mr. White
and Mrs. White after their son is dead and she wants him to use the
paw to bring their son back to life.

"the paw!" "the monkey's paw"

"Where? Where is it? What's the matter?"





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